Friday, July 9, 2010

From the Department of Ambiguity

Surveys should clarify, not further muddy, the picture. Pay attention to the reporting when results from this survey come in.

The military is, according to CNN, asking soldiers these questions about the possible repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

-Would a repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" prompt a soldier to reconsider serving in the military?
-Would serving under an openly gay commander adversely affect morale?
-How would troops feel about sharing a bathroom or open-air shower with an openly gay comrade in a war zone?
The first question could result in ambiguous results. Presumably, a gay soldier might reconsider serving precisely because DADT has been repealed--in other words, he or she would feel safe remaining in service. But watch for interpretation that assumes that anyone who says he'd reconsider service means that the respondent is opposed to repeal.

 On the second, "openly gay." Well, let's turn that around. If someone is obnoxious about his sexuality, hetero or gay, that could be enough to affect morale.

 On the third, why limit it the question to the war zone? Soldiers have little or no privacy from day one of basic training.

 And why, honestly, are we asking soldiers this? Were soldiers surveyed before President Truman ordered the integration of the military? Don't think so. I wish someone would ask questions about this.  And dear gay friends, I respect your fears about soldiers outing themselves, but if you take yourselves out of the process, the results will be skewed.

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